Hong Kong authorities have joined a growing list of Asian countries that are allowing the resumption of cruising provided the voyages remain domestic in nature.
The decision was announced on Wednesday.
Genting Cruise Lines’ Dream Cruises and Royal Caribbean International immediately announced they would each deploy one ship in Hong Kong.
The Royal Caribbean Group subsidiary will use its 169,000-gt Spectrum of the Seas (built 2019), while Dream is sending its 151,000-gt Genting Dream (built 2016).
Both ships will begin operating short high-seas cruises, advertised as seacations, from the end of July. The cruises will range between two and four nights, similar to both company’s ships operating out of Singapore.
Similar Covid-19 protocols will be adopted and passengers over 16 will have to be vaccinated and provide a negative polymerase chain reaction test.
As both Hong Kong and Singapore do not have a domestic hinterlands and other ports to call at, the focus will be on activities onboard.
Passengers on the Genting Dream, for example, will be encouraged to engage in ship spotting, tasked with exploring “the vibrant shipping industry in the region by searching for as many different types of vessels plying the waters during their journey”.
Passengers who can find the largest number will receive special autographed memorabilia from the master of Genting Dream.
Genting president Kent Zhu said the cruises would provide Hong Kong residents the opportunity for more vacation alternatives during a period when overseas travel is not permitted.
“With Hong Kong a historically key home port and with our unique position as a home grown cruise company based in Asia, we will mobilise our resources across the region to bring Genting Dream into Hong Kong by June to begin her quarantine process so that she will be ready for July sailings in time for the summer holidays,” Zhue said.
“The crucial experience gained as the first cruise line to resume in Asia with Explorer Dream and World Dream in Taiwan and Singapore respectively, provides invaluable first-hand knowledge on how to operate cruises in the safest possible environment and it is our goal to also be the first to resume in Hong Kong.”
The return of the Genting Dream to active cruising, together with activation of ships belonging to the other Genting Cruise Lines brands Star and Crystal, will result in 69% of Genting Cruise Lines’ capacity of over 15,000 lower berths in commission.
The company claimed this is the highest level amongst its industry peers.